09/09/2009

Fruits of Viet Nam: Durian (Sầu Riêng)

It is quite unusual smell makes the Durian one of the most unique fruits to ever exist. Such odour often yield mixed reactions from different people ranging from deep appreciation to pure disgust. Six times larger than the cantaloupe, its green thick, rough, thorn-covered husk looks similar to the jackfruit but its thorns are more projected and definitely sharper. A knife is needed to cut through the outer shell while extra caution is required to break open the rest of the husk to avoid hurting one’s hand from its thorns. Once open, it is noticeable how the inside is divided into cells holding a few of the cream-colored custard-like flesh in every compartment. It is from such rich flesh where the strong smell, which others find specially tempting, while others label as unpleasantly nauseous and offensive, comes from. Even with its shell intact, the odour remains overpowering and penetrating and could be detected from a distance.

Once touched or eaten, the smell stays on one’s breath for hours. For some reason, the Vietnamese calls the fruit Sầu Riêng (one's own sorrows). Durian is indeed an exquisite fruit, and is pretty expensive. But for the many who finds the fruit’s qualities truly fascinating, it’s very much worth the money and experience.